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Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA®)
Product Costing and Simplification

Balancing the objectives of cost, time, function and quality

There is a project management saying about cost, time and quality; pick any two of the three.  On top of that, the product must also function in a manner consistent with the expectations of consumers.  But what if there was a way you could balance each of these goals?  Using a question and answer approach, DFMA software tools allow you to achieve cost reduction and quality improvement in a short amount of time.  The consumer receives the product they desire at a lower cost to the producer.  From the earliest conceptual stages of product development, to the purchase of parts from your supply chain, DFMA provides a way to work creatively and objectively to find new avenues for improving profit margins.


DFM Concurrent Costing software provides you with a thorough understanding of the primary cost drivers associated with manufacturing your product – and establishes a benchmark for what your product "should cost." Central to the should-cost approach is accumulating real information about manufacturing costs and noting where specific costs are in your design. Large costs in a product are associated with its manufacture, so sharing should-cost* information with suppliers makes your collaborations more fruitful.

The cost models in DFM Concurrent Costing software guide you through an assessment of alternative processes and materials, which provide cost information for the bill of material. Costs update automatically as you determine tolerances, surface finishes, and other part details. Gradually, as you choose effective shape-forming processes and consider how to modify part features to lower cost, your product becomes optimized.

Once your design is complete and it's time for purchasing to work with suppliers, the should-cost approach of DFM Concurrent Costing becomes invaluable. Purchasing and supply-chain management are provided a unique advantage by having the true cost of parts on the bill of material.  Each part description can include a breakdown of what the setup, material, process, and tooling costs should be. The purchasing engineer and the supplier can then begin to facilitate discussions about predicted cycle times and costs, rather than get bogged down in arguments over margins and profits.


During the early stages of design, control of part count is paramount to meeting cost targets. DFA Product Simplification software optimizes products by focusing on part count and part count reduction. Product simplification is achieved through the application of industry-tested minimum part count criteria. This analysis allows you to determine the theoretical minimum number of parts that must be in the design for the product while maintaining 100% functionality.

When you identify and eliminate unnecessary parts, you eliminate unnecessary manufacturing and assembly costs, along with “downstream” costs associated with warranty and service, engineering change orders, and utilization of factory floor space.

Suppliers are a rich source of feedback during product simplification, particularly if one of your options is to combine multiple parts into one part with multiple features. As a design matures, DFA tools help avoid part proliferation and ensure that costs do not creep back into the product.


DFM Concurrent Costing software allows you to quickly estimate the cost of manufacturing your product, and provides an easy method for comparing “what-if” analysis for alternative manufacturing processes and material selection.
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DFA Product Simplification software is used to reduce the complexity of a product by consolidating parts into elegant and multifunctional designs resulting in significant cost savings.
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Why is DFMA Important to Your Company?



Client testimonials:

John Deere

“We have two mandates for the cost management group at John Deere: reduce part costs and increase product reliability. The process and materials cost-estimating capabilities of DFMA software has assisted in achieving both goals.”

"Software Produces Better Designs," Assembly, August 2004